HARRISBURG — A Pennsylvania police chief who posted a profanity-laden video online is reviewing the legality of his 30-day unpaid suspension for using borough weapons and ammunition without prior approval, his lawyer said Thursday.
Attorney Joseph P. Nahas said Gilberton Police Chief Mark Kessler believes he did have permission to use the equipment he was shown firing. He has not discussed potential litigation with Kessler, Nahas said, adding that Kessler has an employment contract and state law gives him certain protections as a chief of police.
Nahas said Kessler maintains he did not do anything wrong but “he understands the punishment. He certainly cannot change their mind.”
He said Kessler is worried the borough council that voted 5-1 late Wednesday to suspend him may move to fire him before he is scheduled to return to the job. Kessler is a 14-year veteran of the force in the 800-population town in the heart of central Pennsylvania coal country.
The lawyer said Kessler purchased the ammunition and parts of a gun with his own money.
Calls seeking comment from the borough’s elected officials and the borough solicitor were not immediately returned Thursday.
Kessler’s websites and videos display strong feelings about gun rights. Nahas said he has received death threats.
A link on his home page solicits donations for his Constitutional Security Force to “push back tyrants (and) restore what our founding fathers started.” Men wearing clothing that identified them as members of that force attended the borough council meeting Thursday night.